Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Petoi Bittle, a palm-sized robot dog for STEM and fun!

After seeing the impressive capabilities of the Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot, many people are interested in purchasing such a machine. However, only a few can afford it since the robotic dog costs almost $75,000. Therefore, a new Spot-like small quadruped walking robot has already appeared on the market, available to almost everyone, for just $195.

Named “Bittle,” the robot is a palm-sized robot dog for STEM and fun developed by Petoi, a startup that aims to design pets for the future. Bittle is the second product of OpenCat, sibling of Nybble, the cutest open-source robotic kitten that was launched in 2018.

It is reminiscent of Spot, such as skilfully climbing over steps with four legs and self-righting after falling from a slope.

The customer receives the Bittle as a kit, which the user assembles himself, following the instructions from the developers. The kit includes a case, basic parts of the structure, many servos for controlling the legs and head of the robot, a set of electronic components including a battery, an Arduino NyBoard V1 controller, and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi modules. The robot also comes with an infrared remote to trigger basic movements.

After building the robot, the user uploads the behavior program to it using the OpenCat software package. Thanks to the Arduino and Raspberry Pi community, you can find many customization ideas for Bittle. Separately, the buyers can purchase additional hardware modules, such as an intelligent camera module, a gesture sensor, a PIR motion sensor, and some other useful sensors.

Each piece of the robot has gone through tens of iterations with 3D printing. The use of high strength injection-molded plastic provides the best protection from collision and dust. Of course, anti-collision does not only rely on a high-strength body, but Bittle’s flexibility is also very good, and the springs of the limbs can play a certain buffering effect.

The assembled Bittle has dimensions of 20x11x11 cm, weighs less than 280 grams, and can carry a load of up to 450 grams. The maximum walking speed of the robot is about two body lengths per second. The machine can memorize dozens of patterns of behavior, as well as perform various actions under the direct remote control of the user. A small battery lasts for about an hour of active work.

Currently, the Brittle project has launched crowdfunding on Kickstarter, where a complete kit is available at a pledge of $195. The robot will probably cost more after entering the market.